By Oscar M. Baker
There is a number of dividing lines in the Bible. We cannot here list them all. One noted one was in 1946 B.C. when the nations were given up at Babel and Abraham called and promise given. Just about 2,000 years later, at Acts 28:28, Israel were given up and the mystery began. This is about the church which is the body of Christ. And the length of that dispensation is noted in Hosea 6:2 as two days.
We are especially interested here in the dividing line between Israel and the church and what was on each side of this line. In general, people just do not know what lies between. In fact, few know that there was a dividing line. They do not know the Scriptures. There is one thing in common. It is the term chosen. Israel were a chosen people, and the church was chosen from before the overthrow of Gen. 1:2, long before the overthrow.
A Redeemer was promised in Gen. 3:15. But no details. But Abraham saw Christ's day and was glad. See John 8:5, 6. In fact, Acts is a period in which many prophecies were fulfilled. During Acts, Israel continued with all their feasts and rituals as before. There was no change in the law for Israel. They lived looking for the King to return, and that soon. If their eyes had been opened, as ours are today, they would have realized from Dan. 9:24, 25, that the Lord would have returned in A.D. 85 to set up the kingdom and usher in the 1,000 years.
They still went to the synagogues and observed Sabbaths and feast days as commanded in Leviticus. They put their affection on the land promised and things on the earth, such as their religious observances. They had no hope of going to heaven. The rapture would only take them into the air to meet the Lord and come back to the earth with Him and to reign with Him the 1000 years. Nothing wrong with any of this in its place and time. But after Acts 28:28 this was all erased and a new order set in.
There were Gentiles converted to the kingdom hope during Acts. This was a ministry committed to Paul, the gospel of the grace of God. This meant that these Gentile converts could partake of the promises and blessings of Abraham, without coming under the law, which included all the religious observances and Sabbaths of Israel. The council at Jerusalem in Acts 15 confirmed this.
Then with the divorce of Israel at Acts 28:28 these things were taken from the scene. Read carefully Col. 2. Especially note verse 16. It is clear that those who have the hope of heavenly places for their future abode, do not observe the things connected with the earthly calling. But there is a sad story connected with this. The mystery has been ignored and set aside and those who call themselves Christians are taking over and stealing the observances of Israel, and forgotten their calling. Very few today have the hope of the heavenly places.
(Reprinted from Truth For Today, Vol. 37, No. 11)